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Karina Longworth 

News, Features Charlie Sheen Is Winning with <em>Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III</em>

Charlie Sheen Is Winning with Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

Charlie Sheen lives in a big, yellow house on a T-shaped intersection in the middle of a fake neighborhood in a gated community off Mulholland Drive. When I arrive there on a Saturday afternoon in January, I am intercepted in Sheen's driveway by a security guard, a friendly, not- intimidatingly-large...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Top 10 Films of 2012

Top 10 Films of 2012

See also: *More L.A. Weekly Film Coverage More than ever, boiling this concluding year down to the 10 "best" movies feels both arbitrary and reductive. Ideally, I'd have 25 unnumbered slots. I'd cite another five, formally varied nonfiction films: Tchoupitoulas, Detropia, The Ambassador, Only the Young and How to Survive...…
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Film,

Cinefamily's Telethon Will Include Robert Downey, Jr. Digging Up a Time Capsule, and More

Throughout its five years in existence, Cinefamily has stressed the "family" aspect of its mission: Rather than rely on a single benefactor (like their neighbor, the Quentin Tarantino–owned New Beverly), it asks its audience to collectively chip in to keep the theater alive. The nonprofit cinema housed in the vintage...…
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Film, Quentin Tarantino Wants a Second Oscar. Will Django Give It to Him?

Quentin Tarantino Wants a Second Oscar. Will Django Give It to Him?

Quentin Tarantino has been Googling himself, and it's starting to become a problem. The filmmaker, whose eighth feature, Django Unchained, opens on Christmas Day, is famously an analog evangelist: He writes his scripts in longhand; he bans cellphones from his sets, and hasn't had one of his own in years;...…
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Film,

Killing Them Softly Review: Violent Brad Pitt Drama Argues Crime Is Just Business

An adaptation of George V. Higgins' 1974 novel Cogan's Trade, Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly anatomizes a self-policing underground economy of junkies, killers and administrators to indict a present-day mainstream world — the world into which the film is being released by Harvey Weinstein, heralded by misleadingly generic TV adverts...…
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Film,

Silver Linings Playbook Review: Where Is the David O. Russell in This David O. Russell Movie?

Silver Linings Playbook, which stars Bradley Cooper as a manic-depressive man-child attempting to get his life back together after a breakdown, won the coveted Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and subsequently shot to the top of most Oscar prognosticators' Best Picture short list. The film's...…
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Film,

Hitchcock Review: Shouldn't the Making of Psycho Be More Interesting?

Early in Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock (played by Anthony Hopkins with a sack of fat connecting chin to neck) walks the red carpet at the premiere of his 1959 chase film, North by Northwest. "You're 60 years old!" shouts a reporter to the corpulent master of suspense, then nearing his 40th...…
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Film, Festival of (In)appropriation Goes Beyond the Mash-up

Festival of (In)appropriation Goes Beyond the Mash-up

The appropriation of mainstream/commercial culture by artists is nothing new — you can trace it back through Negativland, Craig Baldwin and other post–hip-hop culture jammers of the '80s and '90s; Guy Debord and the Situationists of the '60s; Duchamp and the Dadaists; and probably further. But in the era of...…
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Film,

Skyfall Review: James Bond Now Has a Superhero-Style Origin Story

If Hollywood's rut du jour is the origin story as bid for franchise immortality, you can't say that Skyfall — the 23rd "official" James Bond film in 50 years — isn't on trend. Eight years ago in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig's first outing as Bond, we learned that 007 owes...…
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Film,

The Comedy Review: Film Satirizes Hipsters in Ways They’ll Likely Enjoy

Could there be a more unsympathetic character in today's culture than a well-born white male who uses his privilege irresponsibly? A highly improvised fictional exposé in search of the elusive heart and soul of hipster nihilism, The Comedy stars alt-comic superstar Tim Heidecker as Swanson, a trust fund 35-year-old hanging...…
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Film, Film Reviews

The Bay Review: Barry Levinson Mimics an Amateur YouTube Documentarian

Found-footage eco-horror cheapie The Bay — in which a previously harmless, waterborne parasite mutates into an unstoppable human-flesh-eating scourge thanks to the march of progress and attendant environmental carelessness — is not the cash-in you might expect from a Halloween-week release from the producers of Paranormal Activity. Directed by Barry...…
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Film, Sean Baker on His Film <em>Starlet</em>, an Insider's Look at the Porn Biz

Sean Baker on His Film Starlet, an Insider's Look at the Porn Biz

Sean Baker's Starlet stars Dree Hemingway (Ernest's great-granddaughter) as Jane, a 21-year-old "girl next door" porn performer whose off-hours are spent getting high in the Valley house she shares with fellow "starlet" Melissa (Stella Maeve) and Melissa's small-time impresario boyfriend (James Ransone). The story in the movie, which screens at...…
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Film,

Fun Size Review: Gossip Girl Creator Josh Schwartz's First Film

Gossip Girl and The O.C., the two teen TV shows created in the past decade by 36-year-old Josh Schwartz, are sly bait-and-switches. Both are easily marketable for their hot (mess) fashion-plate stars, wide-eyed luxury fetishism, soapy story arcs and savvy self-reference. But both are also, at heart, deeply old-fashioned in...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle <em>Wake in Fright</em>, the Lost Grind House Movie That Left Martin Scorsese Speechless

Wake in Fright, the Lost Grind House Movie That Left Martin Scorsese Speechless

As director Ted Kotcheff told Senses of Cinema magazine, when Aussie grind house creeper Wake in Fright premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971, "There was an American seated in one of the rows immediately behind me, and he kept saying: 'Wow! This is great!'" That American turned out...…
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Film,

Argo Review: Ben Affleck's Film About the CIA Going Hollywood

Perhaps more than any other male American star of his generation, Ben Affleck understands the narrative advantage of having Hollywood on your side. The Good Will Hunting co-screenwriter and co-star won an Oscar at age 25, in large part because he and collaborator Matt Damon, as struggling actors who created...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Want to See <em>Cannibal Holocaust</em>? Check Out Video Nasties, Cinefamily's Series on Censored Movies

Want to See Cannibal Holocaust? Check Out Video Nasties, Cinefamily's Series on Censored Movies

In 1982, when the U.K. distributor of 1980 Italian mondo faux snuff film Cannibal Holocaust sent an anonymous letter of "complaint" regarding the obscenity of its new release to dowager, Thatcher acolyte and cultural watchdog Mary Whitehouse, it was merely hoping to drum up some free publicity. To the audience...…
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Film,

Detropia Review: Chronicling the Downfall of a Great American City

When it comes to cost-cutting, downsizing and philosophical and practical compromise, how low is it possible to go before there's nothing left to cut — and nowhere to go but up? Detropia, the evocative new documentary from filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp), is a portrait of a...…
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Film, Toronto Film Festival 2012 Report: <em>The Master</em>, <em>Spring Breakers</em> and More

Toronto Film Festival 2012 Report: The Master, Spring Breakers and More

A critic's report from a film festival like Toronto, where something like 300 features were unveiled from Sept. 6 through 16, can be something like a Rorschach test — or, at least, it can be something like the Rorschach test depicted in Paul Thomas Anderson's TIFF entry, The Master, in...…
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Film, <em>The Master</em> Review: Paul Thomas Anderson Reteams With Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Master Review: Paul Thomas Anderson Reteams With Philip Seymour Hoffman

There's something startlingly noncommittal about many of the initial reviews of The Master, which leaked out following the impromptu screenings writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson organized in 70mm–equipped houses across the country, and later in response to the film's official bow at the Venice Film Festival. And that's perhaps the natural,...…
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News, Features Mondo Kim's Video Was Shipped from New York to Sicily. Then Things Got Really Strange.

Mondo Kim's Video Was Shipped from New York to Sicily. Then Things Got Really Strange.

From 1995 until January 2009, a music and movie megastore called Mondo Kim's took up the bulk of a five-story building at 6 St. Marks Place in the East Village. The top floor was rented out as apartments, the fourth floor was used by Yongman Kim — the owner of...…
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